By Dylan Vazzano, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech tennis team has climbed the mountain yet again. For the eighth time in the program's illustrious history, the top-seeded Golden Eagles are Ohio Valley Conference Tournament champions, topping No. 2 Eastern Kentucky, 4-0, in Sunday's championship finale. Tech (13-6) is now headed to its second-straight NCAA Tournament, the first time since 2002-03 that TTU has clinched a spot in the exclusive club in back-to-back years.
The Golden Eagles will set their sights on the NCAA selection show on May 2, where they will learn their regional setup and opening round opponent. The first two rounds in the single elimination format are set for the second weekend in May.
Tech left nothing to chance in its blanking of the Colonels (16-10), coming out of the gates scorching with a pair of wins in doubles play to secure the point. TTU's top tandem of Eduardo Mena and Marcos Bernardes collected a 6-3 victory over Ramon van Flymen and Sebastian Mueller, before the combination of Marc Mila and Jorge Alfonzo knocked off Guillem Sanchis and Diego Asis, 6-4, out of the No. 3 spot to clinch the point.
Tech's top two in its single rotation would put the Golden Eagles on the precipice of a title as Marcos Bernardes rolled past Sebastian Mueller, 6-3, 6-0, out of the No. 2 position, followed promptly by an Eduardo Mena 6-2, 7-5 nod over Ramon van Flymen in the No. 1 slot to give Tech a 3-0 edge in the match.
Mena, the nation's 60th ranked player and two-time Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year, will enter the NCAA Tournament having won 13 consecutive singles matchups.
With the Golden Eagles a point away from hoisting the conference crown, sophomore Guillermo Nicolas raced Tech to the finish line as the Villanueva de la Canada, Spain native took down Parth Aggarwal, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) out of the No. 4 spot to clinch the title. Nicolas will head into the NCAA Tournament on a nine-match heater.
With the championship in hand, the final three battles did not finish. Alberto Esteban was locked up in a tight one against Jan Kuehling in the No. 3 matchup that saw the pair exchange 6-3 set wins, with Esteban seizing the first and Kuehling the second. Jorge Alfonzo led 5-3 in his opening set with Guillem Sanchis in the No. 5 duel, and Marc Mila trailed early in his initial set with Diego Asis out of the No. 6 slot.
The NCAA Tournament first and second rounds are scheduled for May 12-14 in a variety of on-campus sites. The rest of the tournament, including the semifinals and finals, will take place May 18-23 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.